Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 25 Merry Christmas

Say you're sorry.

The whole purpose of this was to make someone's day. Most of the time it was stranger. Sometimes it was a neighbor. Other times it was my family or friends.

Today is a special day and I'm going to tell you a story.

Everything you read is 100% true.

I have a different perception of myself then what other people have. Despite how nice this blog is, I kinda a b word.

I like to feel like I'm better then people, and in my high school, there's wasn't too many people I could point to say "I might suck, but at least I'm better than that person."

There was one girl- She will remain namesless for the sake of this blog we will call her Jane Doe.

I didn't like Jane. There was no real reason to, expect that she was the person who I thought I was better then.

For those of you who are reading this blog and went to my high school you can correct me, but this is how I saw it.

In our high school the Varsity Jacket was an item of worship. It was worn from the first day of school to the last day. It was worn at Church, at funerals and at the doctors. If you were good enough to get one, you never took it off.

In our high school all the sports could get a varsity jacket, including band and color guard. This is not a place for me to vent about color gaurd but my opinion of it is not very high.

Color guard try outs were in the middle of November and they fell smack in the middle of ordering for the varsity jacket.

Jane Doe was trying out for the color guard, she bought a jacket, she didn't make the team.

Then Jane wore the jacket to school.

In my 30 years, this one moment that stands out to me and the meanest thing I have ever done.

I walked passed Jane while she was in the lunch line, I intentally went out of my way to walk past her. I said, loud enough for her to hear, "It takes some balls to wear a jacket to a team you didn't even make."

She never wore the jacket again.

I said something and it directly impacted her.

I don't know how much money her family had. That could have been her winter coat for the year.

Yes, I admit, I've said meaner things to people. But this was out of pure spite for no reason. It was an unproked attack.

I tell my students that story every year so they learn that their words effect people if the mean it or not.

They almost always ask, "Did you ever say you were sorry?"
I had to admit to them, "No, but if I knew where Jane was I would."

Flash foward a few years. I discovered Facebook.
Here was my chance to make things right.

The first person I looked for on Facebook was Jane.

I sent her this message
hi, I used to be Erinn C. You might not remember me, but I remember you. When looking back on my life, I am ashamed how I treated you. I was cruel to you. I made a horrible comment about you, and loud enough for you to hear.
I am now a teacher and often tell my students how I regret words, because school and teenage years are bad enough with people being mean.
I'm not looking for forgiveness or for you to be my "Friend" on facebook. I just wanted to say being sorry for being a brat.
I hope all is well.

I got back this message

Thank you for your thoughtful note. I must say that I have pleasant memories of you. I don't remember you being cruel. I remember going through a few years of CCD at Saint David's with you. The last time we had any classes together was in 8th grade- Team 8D.

I do forgive you for any comment you may have made. But, believe me, whatever it was, it wasn't "horrible" enough for me to commit to memory, or be scarred by it.

I think reflecting back on your teenage years is very wise. I hope you continue to encourage your students to treat each other with respect. I teach in a high school and I have seen it all.

You should read Odd Girl Out, which is one woman's study of teenage bullying. "Hidden aggression" as she says. It's a little dry, but it's worth having for reference.

I've been carrying my shame for ten years. And she didn't remember it.

I'd like to think that she saw my message and smiled, it made her day.
I know I feel better.

It takes nothing to say "You're sorry."
It costs nothing.
It's no effort.

Say you're sorry and forgive someone.

Merry Christmas.


  1. I was, more often than not, the Jane Doe of your story in my high school. I know that the people who bullied me probably don't think of it often or even care, so whether or not she remembered it, I think it's phenomenal that you apologized and that you've felt badly about it these last ten years. So you're definitely better than the people I went to high school with. :)

    Merry Christmas (a little late)!

  2. wow that was a beautiful story!